Just one game, like yesterday, as the ALCS opens with the Kansas City Royals battering the Toronto Blue Jays 5-0 to take a 1-0 lead in the series.
Edinson Volquez picked up his first win of the postseason with a six-inning gem, allowing only two hits while striking out five before making way for the bullpen to take over. Volquez did walk four batters and the Blue Jays did have small opportunities of turning this game into something different, but finished with just 0-for-7 on runners in scoring position, finishing with just three hits the entire game, not a single one for extra bases.
Bautista didn’t get a chance to flip his bat. The Royals kept him from actually posing any danger, walking him three times while going down looking in the fourth. Juan Encarnacion, who should have taken advantage of Bautista getting to base so often thanks to walks, was struck out as well once and couldn’t get anything going for the Blue Jays after such an emotional high in beating the Rangers in game 5.
The Royals were easily hitting against Marco Estrada until he was taken off midway through the fifth inning, and got a little bit of damage done on LaTroy Hawkins in the end. Most of the scoring was done in the third and fourth inning, with Alcides Escobar hitting an RBI double, followed by Lorenzo Cain driving Escobar home with his single. In the fourth came the home run from Salvador Perez and in the 8th, the Royals completed the victory through a Eric Hosmer and a Kendrys Morales sacrifice fly.
The Royals, after twice trailing in the series against the Astros, were happy to get a hold of the lead for once, this time from the get go: It is extremely important to win the opener. There’s only so many crazy comebacks you can pull off in a postseason. It was nice to get out to a lead tonight.
The interesting comment following the game came from Volquez himself, talking about his conversation with Perez the catcher before the game and how it helped have so much success against the Blue Jays’ best hitters: We know they got a lot of pull hitters over there, and power hitters, and he told me, ‘How you feel pitching down and away?’ And I said, ‘I feel sexy tonight,’ and he was like, ‘All right, we’re changing the plan right now. We’re pitching those guys away.’